Honduras adoptions - are they possible to complete without an agency?
This was a question posed to me recently by a reader who feels led to adopt and is fortunate enough to have a large and supportive family in Honduras.
While I want to state upfront that I am not a legal expert on international adoptions, I do know it is indeed possible to adopt from many countries without using an adoption agency.
And in fact, the adoption agency we used to adopt our daughter was founded by a couple who adopted independently from South America and then used the knowledge they acquired to later start an agency to help other couples.
Just keep in mind that no one will be there to hold your hand, and you will need to educate yourself on the process.
It also helps to know the language and have local contacts, which this couple does.
To qualify for Honduras adoptions, you must be married for at least three years, and you and your spouse must be between the ages of 25 and 51 years of age.
Children available for adoption are 14 years of age and younger.
Both the American and Honduran governments require that you be approved by USCIS to bring an orphan from another country into the United States, which means you will need to file a petition to classify an orphan as an immediate relative (I-600).
The child must either have no parents or has been freely and irrevocably released for adoption and emigration in writing.
This is one of the first things you should do, as it can take up to a year to get a USCIS approval, so file the petition first and then have your home study done.
Once you have the USCIS approval, you will need to find an attorney in Honduras to file a petition with the Honduras' Adoption Authority, also known as the IHNFA.
According to the Honduran Embassy, here are the documents they require to be approved for Honduras adoptions:
All of these documents must be translated into Spanish.
You and your spouse will also have to attend a briefing to learn about adoption.
- A copy of both parents' birth certificate along with a marriage license.
- You and every member of your family will need to have a medical exam, and your physician will need to provide a certified letter for each family member stating you are all in good health.
- A certified document stating you have no criminal records.
- A letter from your employers or both employers if you are both employed indicating your position, salary, any seniority and benefits you have.
- A copy of your home study.
- A bank statement showing you have money in savings.
- If you own your home, you will need a certified copy of your title; If you rent your home, you will need a certified copy of your lease or rental agreement.
- Three character references by people in your community, preferably in highly respected positions such as a pastor, college professor, civic leader, etc. with their names and addresses provided.
- Two recent photographs of you and your family and the home you live in, both interior and exterior of your homes.
- A photocopy of you and your spouses' passport.
Once you have been found eligible by the IHNFA, then you will be matched with a child.
You adopt the child in Honduras and then apply for a new birth certificate for your child.
Once you have the new birth certificate, you then apply for a Honduras passport, because your child will not be a U.S. citizen until he or she comes into the United States.
You will also need to apply for a U.S. visa from the U.S. Embassy for your child.
Other Helpful Information
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American citizens especially have been moved to open their homes to these children, but the U.S. State Department is urging these parents to slow down.
Corruption and greed brought an end to adoptions from Cambodia, but new laws and regulations are now being established that might one day allow American parents to again adopt from Cambodia.
It is possible to adopt from Honduras without using an agency, but you will need to know the language and have contacts there.
An update to pursuing a Haiti adoption: It is now not only once again possible, but necessary in light of the devastating earthquake in 2010.
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